Nebraska Recruiting: Development
Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Recruiting: Development, Not Quick Fixes, Key to 2020

December 09, 2019

Recruiting never stops and it's easy to miss the top stories day-to-day. Recruiting analyst Greg Smith recaps all things Nebraska recruiting news, analysis and more so you never miss a thing.

With the 2019 season in the books for Nebraska, there is a lot of focus shifting to the 2020 recruiting class. That’s not an incorrect shift as it is the next football-related thing to turn your attention to. It also happens that Nebraska has a lot of puzzle pieces to slide into place to finish the class strong. 

Yet in watching the conference championship games yesterday, I kept thinking about the other part of recruiting that gets lost after we talk about class rankings: development. 

The Huskers need to bounce back in 2020. It’s imperative to make a bowl game and get back on the trajectory that Coach Scott Frost wants it on. If that happens it will be largely because the players he inherited (those are his guys now) and he recruited in 2018 and 2019 have developed. 

Let’s think about way too early projected starters for 2020. Quarterback will likely be a player already on campus. Dedrick Mills is going to start at running back with Rahmir Johnson behind him. I can see Sevion Morrison and Marvin Scott III being in the mix for back-up snaps too. All of the offensive linemen who will start are on campus but Turner Corcoran has a chance to be a top backup like Bryce Benhart was this year. The tight end battle will be much more interesting this spring but all the production next season will come from guys on campus already. 

Wide receiver is where things get tricky. JD Spielman and Wan’Dale Robinson return. After that, much will depend on who exactly is in the recruiting class. If the Huskers land Omar Manning, he is a starter. Can Zavier Betts make a move next season to be in the rotation? What type of role can Will Nixon carve as a Duck-R? Also, Darien Chase, Jamie Nance and Demariyon Houston will be chomping at the bit to make a move. 

On defense, it is much of the same story. Nash Hutmacher could work his way into a nose tackle rotation next season with Damion Daniels, Ty Robinson (if he stays there) and Keem Green. On the end, Deontre Thomas, Ben Stille, Casey Rogers and Tate Wildeman will be in the mix but a JUCO player would fit nicely there. Linebacker sees JoJo Domann, Garrett Nelson and Caleb Tannor return. The development of David Alston and Jamin Graham could be key. A JUCO addition to the outside linebacker group also makes sense. 

There is a high likelihood that the inside linebackers that you see a lot in 2020 are aleady in Lincoln. If that is the case it hopefully means some good development took place. Collin Miller and Will Honas saw starter snaps last season. Nick Henrich, Luke Reimer, Jackson Hannah, Garret Snodgrass, Joseph Johnson and transfer Zach Schalger will all be back. Inside linebacker has been a focus in this class but the results have been puzzling to date. 

The secoandary should be fun in 2020. Dicaprio Bootle, Braxton Clark, Cam Taylor-Britt and Quinton Newsome make for a nice group of corners. Henry Gray is early enrolling and could be thrust into the mix. At safety, the pairing of Marquel Dismuke and Deontai Williams should have fans excited. Myles Farmer, Isiah Stalbird and others will be vying for the backup roles there but as we’ve seen, Travis Fisher can move Bootle and Taylor-Britt back there. 

The specialist positions could be a different story entirely. Barret Pickering and Matt Waldoch return but the competition will be fierce for place kicking duties. New walk-on addition Chase Contreraz enters the fray mid-year. Punter doesn’t have any new additions right now but I’d wager we will see new blood in the punter competition. 

The class of 2020 will be largely important to the future of the program. There no doubt about that. There are plenty of prospects to be excited about in the current cycle. However, if you are looking for a big leap on the field in 2020, it’s the players in the program already who will do most of the heavily lifting. 

Recruit Watch

>> Huskers cornerback target Kendall Dennis was offered a scholarship by Clemson. 

>> Travion Ford, a 2022 4-star outside linebacker target, won a state championship this weekend.

>> Josh Griffis, a recent FSU outside linebacker decommit, committed to Louisville. He had Nebraska is his top three but didn’t visit.

>> Devon Jackson, a 2022 Omaha Burke outside linebacker, picked up an offer from Iowa State. 


>> Sweet victory for Nebraska volleyball sent them to the Sweet 16. 

>> The first half woes were too much to overcome for a Nebraska basketball against Creighton. 

>> Derek Peterson has three thoughts after the Huskers blowout loss to the Blue Jays. (Premium)

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